Star Wars: The Old Republic Review

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Agente L:
quotesies

I screwed up the quote in my initial post, and I'm fairly certain the forums don't let members know if they were quoted in an edit, so I'm quoting Agente again to let him know I have a question for him above. Edit: *facepalm* Or on the bottom of the previous page. One little typo in my first post and it all goes to hell...

Rblade:
my problem with the review is that it doesn't say anything about the endgame. Because as many people already seem to suggest, it's hard to maintain story drive in the endgame.

If you devoted yourself to it and read all the text WoW had some reasonable story lines leading upto the endgame. They just where a little disjointed.

The endgame is where an MMO stands or falls. Thats where grinding becomes an issue (for the bigger crafts or getting into that next tier of raiding gear) I haven't grinded much in WoW leveling. Especially in the newest content where they steared away from samy kill x quests as much as possible. OK I stopped WoW but thats because all my friends stopped and my lack of time for raiding kept me in a loop of Heroic running that became a little to familiar. I could dream those encounters. And I fear TOR will have very similar end game problems.

What a new MMORPG should really adress is the problem of challenge. like in WoW where you had heroics, that was a good start, but what me and a couple of buddies really craved was a mode where you could really demand the max of yourself and you toon, without real extra reward but just a challenge to keep you interested. More HP on mobs more diverse attack paterns to force you to think on your feet in a way that can't be demanded from the real casual player. Would I know how exactly to do that, no but I'm not a game designer.

The end game, as it currently stands, is by far the weakest portion of TOR. My guild's currently killed 4 of the 5 bosses in hard mode Eternity Vault, and it's really rather pathetic. Both of the current raids are buggy, unpolished, and with the exception of Soa, ridiculously easy. The only reason we haven't cleared the thing and moved on to nightmare is because due to conflicting schedules we've only been able to field 4 raids thus far.

If you're looking for challenging end game, this is not the place. Yet anyway. I hold some small degree of hope that the new bosses in 1.1 will actually address that, but I doubt it will actually happen.

CountChopula:
Not to mention a good 80%+ of the quests are solo-able. So in reality, the game doesn't require you, nor does it really foster you, to group up and form a community.

My biggest gripe with the game is the 20% that still caters to the "you must have a group" mentality of MMOs anyway, so I'm not sure this is a huge negative. Soloing in MMOs is surprisingly popular and continues to be a woefully under-served market, and with all the other options out there for MMOs where you need groups, I really can't see one where this isn't the case as a point against it.

In my experience, MMO communities aren't that great anyway, not even the ones oft-lauded (and self-congratulatory) for their good nature.

Soviet Heavy:
I'm still on the fence. After what Drew Karpyshyn managed to do to Revan, I don't know if I want to mix Bioware with Star Wars anymore.

I know how you feel. I'm pretending that wasn't the real Revan, that he sent a Revanite or a jedi to take his place and pretend to be him in-order to fool the empire into think he was dead so he could operate in secrecy to defeat the emperor. I don't think any one in the empire knows what he looks like part from the emperor so it's plausible.

Besides he was a master general and tactician, I doubt he could fall to the empire's plan it was too obvious.

I actually like space combat more than most. Its rally just a minigame anyway. As for the story, I am playing a bounty hunter and loving my class questline so far. Unfortunately many of the random quests are so repetitive and shallow I find myself spacing out when the bland NPC is talking to me. Would have liked to see more actual story arcs on different planets instead of random quests spread out across the different outposts.

Sixcess:
The problem I have with this in TOR is that I don't feel like I'm playing my character. I feel like I'm playing a character that Bioware have defined for me - kind of like Mass Effect. This feeling is massively reinforced when I arrive at a quest hub and see half a dozen other players wandering around with 'my' companion by their side.

I completely agree. Bioware tells remarkable stories but they're not my story. I prefer a blank slate character because my vision of my character isn't shattered every time a dialogue option doesn't match my intention. In TOR it would almost help role-playing better if you know the story ahead of time so your vision of your character matches with what situations you will be stuck watching.

My advice? Select a class you may like and skip quickly through the character creation to the opening story text and cutscene to get an impression of what story you're along a ride for, then create a new character with that in mind. It would save you a lot of role-playing dissonance.

eh, its star wars, only way I'd get it is if some one else gets it for me, (and pays the sub fee cause i can't right now)

LetalisK:

Agente L:
snip

Retconing KotOR2 out of existence? How did they do that? I'm not that far along in the story, so I can't comment too much, but I do know the Exile is in TOR. I'm more afraid that they will rely too much on the Revan book to explain wtf is going on with Revan and Exile.

Since people want spoiler quotes...

There is no such thing as grey jedi. As long as we are aware, Kreia never existed. Nihilus never existed, because there is no such thing as "wound in the force". No absorbing force from the living, no consuming planets, nothing. Exile exists? Yes, but pretty much everything in KOTOR was voided.

sir.rutthed:
I'm sorry, I just gotta jump in here. WOW's story was never good. Never. It's all straight up cookie cutter fantasy poorly retold in boring text. I tried to get into WOW's story. I really did. I was in a heavy RP guild, and everyone else knew the lore. It was just so... boring. Reading quest text has never been and will never be interesting in this generation. Even so, it was poorly written quest text. Now in TOR, we have Bioware's signature writing and characterization introduced to the formula, and it works. Sure it's still largely gather quests, but you really feel the 'why' of it when a poor mother is begging you to find medicine for her dying son and you see him lying prone at her feet as she cries out to you. Sure the end result is different, and a thousand others will play it out exactly the same way, but that shouldn't matter to your character. Now he actually has motives, and that's a big deal to me and to lots of others.

WAITWAITWAITWAIT

Your attempting to say bioware isn't CLICHÉ? Oh my. Please, read the image and answer me afterward?:

http://rampantgames.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/bwcliches.png

While I do find some bioware writing really good, Mass effect 2 was a confusing pile of events that made no sense whatsoever. Mass effect 2 makes mo difference in the triology story. You gotta gather a team (and many of them probably will die in me3) to defeat a race that was introduced in me2 (not me1). It made no difference. Also, the council refusing to believe in you, after not only telling them about the reapers, but one of them actually INVADING the Citadel and wrecking havoc, and then YOU saving them? What? It's ridiculous.

Also, Dragon Age 2. A "How to destroy a nice franchise by rushing it". They messed with the story, making

Most bioware games follow a VERY previsible plot. They are VERY cliché. Also, you DO have texts explaining why a father wants to cure its daughter from a terrible curse (a very nice example exists in Astranaar, alliance side). What motives? You character has no motives. The character motives are YOUR motives. Getting money. Leveling up. Getting gear.

Again, the only difference between TOR story telling and WoW story telling is that TOR is more immersive, and it feels like your more unique. Apart from that, both have storylines. And Bioware didn't really created their storyline for TOR, like blizzard did for wow...

I am looking forward to playing this MMO but I'm waiting for two things to happen first // One, for the game to stop costing €59 to buy in the shops and the other is knowing that I can afford to pay for a second subscription to an online MMO (Warcraft being the first of course)

-M

Agente L:

LetalisK:

Agente L:
snip

Retconing KotOR2 out of existence? How did they do that? I'm not that far along in the story, so I can't comment too much, but I do know the Exile is in TOR. I'm more afraid that they will rely too much on the Revan book to explain wtf is going on with Revan and Exile.

Since people want spoiler quotes...

Ahahahahaha. According to the book, it's so much worse than that.

And people say that Bioware can write. The best I can say about Revan is that it rises to the level of juvenile fifteen year old boy fanfiction/power fantasy. Lately, Bioware being lauded for their writing falls flat for me. The voice actors though, they should be lauded for making it palatable.

They also named the Exile: Meetra Surik.

As for TOR? It felt like your average, derivitave MMO with a cliche laden plot stapled on top. Unlike other MMO games, (that have been mentioned), the only thing it does differently is force it's story straight into your face. I play Champions Online, and I do more roleplay there in the Character Creator system than I did in the fifteen or so hours I played during the TOR Beta. No, it's not perfect but I can decide everything about my character and the type of hero they are. Which adds to the replayability as I have no two characters who are even visually similar.

The combat in TOR felt static, frankly. I hear that's standard in MMOs, but I cut my teeth in the genre playing Star Trek Online and Champions Online. I can run around on a merry chase, firing off my powers, and dragging my enemies all across Millenium City with me if I want to. Circle strafing is a genuine tactic there and it makes the game more interesting to look at. The travel power mechanic made it much less of a chore to get anywhere and to sell your loot. The Warp system in Star Trek was similar. Again, it's not perfect. Yes, the maps in TOR are large, but deceptively so. I spent most of my time running while I was in game. Not running from enemy trash mobs, just running to get to one place and another. It was frustrating, especially after I got off the first planet. Combat with my Sith Inquisitor went like this: stand in one place, cast lightning. Wait for cool down. Cast more lightning. The majority of my Force powers: lightning, lightning, lightning. Jesus, just give me Force Choke early to spare the monotony.

It wasn't even like my electricity character on CO, which goes: shoot lightning from hands, continually. Call down lightning from the sky, watch enemys shake in place. Summon three balls of lightning to hit enemy while you call down more lightning. Toggle lightning to come off body and hit enemies in melee range, call down more lightning on ranged attackers. And yes, the majority of those are area of effect attacks. That was interesting, but standing in one place mashing three attacks that are very visually similar just gets really boring.

Also, TOR never felt like Star Wars to me. It had all the trappings and none of the heart.

Starke:
Though, I think, for example, doing the same with Terraria would be a mistake, as it takes the game a good couple hours to get going.

Now, I know you said you find Bioware's writing since Empire to be rather lacking and clique, but I want to pass this quote back to you; the Old Republic stories take a little while to get going. You admit you didn't like what you saw and had spent some twenty hours with the game, and that's valid. You saw some of the story and what you saw, you didn't like. Can't get much more fair than that. However, you also admit you never saw any of the stories to their conclusion and there in lies my issue. See, all of the characters' stories are muti-level; each 'chapter' takes place over several planets and they are all different. I see it as kind of like reading the first chapter of a book and deciding the book is bad. You are by all means perfectly within reason to say that what you read was cliche and tripe, but I don't think you can make an accurate summary of the entire story. You can comment on the writing style used, but the story as a whole--the actual plot--is out of your reach.

And no other MMO has anything on that. You can't compare class quests in other MMOs that *all* amount to receiving new spells or skills, to the long, sprawling, detailed and twist riddled arcs of all eight different classes. And, as I said earlier, no one else will have the same experience as you. Sure, they can play the same class and choose the same options, but your character is *yours* and they exist in *your* story.

Also, your comment about playing a character Bioware made for you seems odd to me. All my characters are, well, mine. I played them with a specific personality in mind (greedy, corrupt, kind, shallow, lawful, etc.) and went about deciding what quests to accept and how to act accordingly. That's pretty much how every RPG works; they're limited by how much programming the makers can do.

I just don't understand the criticism of 'you promised story and there isn't one'. You can't possibly expect every single player to play a story that changes the world around you for everyone else, and no other MMO has had such an involved story. Sure, in another MMO you can play an assassin and, in your mind, be something of a Robin Hood, stealing from the rich, giving to the poor and only killing when you absolutely must. But that's not reflected in your story. In fact, you don't have a story. To the game, you are just another player accepting quests. In TOR, the world's characters *know* if you kill wantingly, they know if you are greedy or corrupt, your companions *will* comment on your behavior depending on their own personal ethics.

This game, in my eyes, is a revolution, just not the kind people are willing to see. World of Warcraft copied countless numbers of mechanics from the MMO's before it, including Ultima Online and Everquest. But now that WoW is popular, every time an MMO uses these universal tools, they are called a clone, they get branded derivative and are brushed aside. I suppose first-person-shooters better stop using guns -- they all copied that. Maybe racing games better stop using a countdown before the race starts -- in every racing game there is. Look, I get that some aspects of TOR are akin to those in WoW (which in turn are akin to those in Everquest and the like), but that's how video games work; you take things that people like and you try to make them better. A world where every video game needs to change the entire fabric of the genre it's made in is absurd.

There's story here. There's character here. There's something that's never been done before here. People just need to understand that this *is* an MMO. This isn't a new genre or a single player RPG. Come to it knowing this and maybe the inclusion of a story you personally change, characters who react based on how you've played and the ability to have relationships that can become intimate will sink in. This is an MMO. The most unique MMO there's been in a long while.

Agente L:

LetalisK:

Agente L:
snip

Retconing KotOR2 out of existence? How did they do that? I'm not that far along in the story, so I can't comment too much, but I do know the Exile is in TOR. I'm more afraid that they will rely too much on the Revan book to explain wtf is going on with Revan and Exile.

Since people want spoiler quotes...

There is no such thing as grey jedi. As long as we are aware, Kreia never existed. Nihilus never existed, because there is no such thing as "wound in the force". No absorbing force from the living, no consuming planets, nothing. Exile exists? Yes, but pretty much everything in KOTOR was voided.

sir.rutthed:
I'm sorry, I just gotta jump in here. WOW's story was never good. Never. It's all straight up cookie cutter fantasy poorly retold in boring text. I tried to get into WOW's story. I really did. I was in a heavy RP guild, and everyone else knew the lore. It was just so... boring. Reading quest text has never been and will never be interesting in this generation. Even so, it was poorly written quest text. Now in TOR, we have Bioware's signature writing and characterization introduced to the formula, and it works. Sure it's still largely gather quests, but you really feel the 'why' of it when a poor mother is begging you to find medicine for her dying son and you see him lying prone at her feet as she cries out to you. Sure the end result is different, and a thousand others will play it out exactly the same way, but that shouldn't matter to your character. Now he actually has motives, and that's a big deal to me and to lots of others.

WAITWAITWAITWAIT

Your attempting to say bioware isn't CLICHÉ? Oh my. Please, read the image and answer me afterward?:

http://rampantgames.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/bwcliches.png

While I do find some bioware writing really good, Mass effect 2 was a confusing pile of events that made no sense whatsoever. Mass effect 2 makes mo difference in the triology story. You gotta gather a team (and many of them probably will die in me3) to defeat a race that was introduced in me2 (not me1). It made no difference. Also, the council refusing to believe in you, after not only telling them about the reapers, but one of them actually INVADING the Citadel and wrecking havoc, and then YOU saving them? What? It's ridiculous.

Also, Dragon Age 2. A "How to destroy a nice franchise by rushing it". They messed with the story, making

Most bioware games follow a VERY previsible plot. They are VERY cliché. Also, you DO have texts explaining why a father wants to cure its daughter from a terrible curse (a very nice example exists in Astranaar, alliance side). What motives? You character has no motives. The character motives are YOUR motives. Getting money. Leveling up. Getting gear.

Again, the only difference between TOR story telling and WoW story telling is that TOR is more immersive, and it feels like your more unique. Apart from that, both have storylines. And Bioware didn't really created their storyline for TOR, like blizzard did for wow...

Um, I never said they weren't cliche'. I said they were good. Big difference there, as the two are not mutually exclusive. Whether you like their games or not they still have some of the best writers in the business putting out some of the best writing in the business on a regular schedule. I won't open the can of worms that is DA2, but I will say that Bioware still write well above par for any development studio, let alone MMO studios. As for WOW? They're cliche to the bitter end, and the execution is just terrible. That's the difference. Bioware's able to pull it off, and Blizzard manages to be nothing more than generic flavorless fantasy land. Bioware made an immersive game immersive because the execution is near perfect, and that comes from damn good writing. While they do stick to their formula, it's a damn good formula that has led to some of the best games of the last three generations of console.

I never even considered TOR as a legitimate investment for my money and time for a few reasons, even though some of my MMO friends were all over it. I will detail them below because I know people care...

First - it's Star Wars. I'm sorry, but this continual resurrection of a 30 year old movie is just getting dumb. It had its day, it is from the 70's and 80's society where the heroes are always true and noble (and have no regrets over killing a million people just doing their job) and oh-so-evil bad guys that need to be squashed. There is much better sci-fi out there that is in-line with today's world view - the new BSG, SG-1, Firefly, Dr. Who etc.

Second - The Slick Trailers... which showed nothing but flashy lightsabre fights and lame excuses to have lightsabres yanked out for the fanboys. Or things that were taken from the original trilogy movies - such as the playing of the Emperior's March when the Sith showed up, and as the guys in Unskippable mentioned, the Not-Han Solo and the Not-Millennium Falcon. They had no originality at all in their advertising - why would I even consider they'd put any originality in the game? In contrast I would point out the live-action Skyrim trailer - the one of the guy walking and townsfolk running. That alone showed inventiveness and a real keen grasp of storytelling. Needless to say, I own Skyrim, and would have bought it on that trailer alone.

Third - Class story-lines. The moment I heard of these I just knew they were going to be a very bad idea. "Great, I'm doing this thing for this person, woo-hoo! Oh, wait, 50,000 other people are doing the exact same thing as well." Plus, putting in storylines for each class = a massive amount of work, meaning limited class choices as they try to keep costs down. I play EQ2, I like having a choice of 16 classes and 15 different races to play (or vice-versa, can't remember off hand).

Fourth - Bioware. I don't like them. I've finished ME1 and didn't get ME2 because #1 just did not feel like a game. I started DA, and never finished it, again - not a game. These are novels in the guise of a game. These are Bioware writing up a story, and telling us this story with an illusion that we have any kind of choice or real input. We just sit on the surface and watch them tell it to us. We get to do missions, sure. But if they aren't done, well the story doesn't progress. I'd rather read a book than pay $60 and have one told to me. TOR just seemed like more of the same, only with a 100,000+ people being told the same story at the same time.

Fifth - Time-freeze. This is more of a niggling thing - but still bothers me. TOR is 4000 years before ANH - and yet, they have guys in clone-trooper armor, blasters, lightsabres, etc. etc. 4000 years in a galaxy of billions upon billions of people, and hundreds of different societies - and yet everything is the same. Does time not move... oh, wait, dammit....

...sorry, back, the alarm bells were jingling on my chariot out in the pyramid's parking log, I thought the Persians were lurking around again and I'd have to run some through with my bronze knife...

They might as well have just set it in the time period of the prequels. If they had unreliable jump drives, a complete lack of blasters, swords instead of f'ing lightsabres - something, anything to show that it is truly 4,000 years in the past... yes... FOUR THOUSAND years... when we thought the sun was pulled across the sky in a chariot, the alphabet is getting its beginnings, I am not even sure the concept of zero existed, and nothing changes? Hell, EQ1 and EQ2 are about only 500 years apart, and the damn moon crashed into the planet! The entire world is split apart. But instead TOR just looked like a carbon copy of the new movies - and that is just seems lazy. And I just can't give lazy companies my money.

For these reasons, even without playing the game, I have ignored it. I have been with Everquest 2 since launch and will remain there, navigating through quests as I explore the various worlds, and roleplaying my characters as MY characters, because nobody else is telling me their stories. I make it up myself. Questing is not stories, questing is a means to an end, just as a person's job is not everything about them. If I decide that I've had enough of the Kingdom of Sky, I can go to another area and work there. What I do and where I do it is not predetermined by a story-arc that has been set down for me ahead of time.

ZiggyE:
I guess I have to rely on Guild Wars 2 to save the MMO genre.

I have two major irks with this review. Firstly, the claim that this introduces "role playing" elements that other MMOs lack. Well that defends on how you define "role playing". Star Wars: The Old Republic gives you a story and a biography identical to thousands of others and gives you no control, whereas other MMOs let YOU define your character and give you more freedom (and no, by defining your character, I don't mean giving you a dialogue wheel and a morality bar, I mean letting you decide your character's motivations and your character's history that isn't from a selection of in game prompts.)

I think it's worth considering how it affects players who don't usually RP though. I myself very rarely think much about an MMO character's backstory because there's simply no reason in many games to do so. For instance, I could come up with some grand tale of a loss to a rival and a desire for revenge for a Blood Elf Warrior, but there's nothing in the game that reflects that backstory unless you find other RPers and do some extra stuff together. But in SW:TOR there's dialog options that can reflect that. If you're basing your entire RP on exactly what happens in game, you're doing it wrong anyway. Here's an example from one of my characters, a Trooper: I made him look kinda grizzled and imagined he was a veteran who lost his wife and kid at one point and became a heavy drinker. He decided to join the war effort again after getting sober, but he was still bitter and heartless (except to women and children, for the most part). Later, after meeting one of the companion characters, I decided to shape him up a tad, following protocol a bit more because that's how that companion is.

Now obviously I'm not a huge RPer, but among the MMOs I've played, only TOR actually makes that kind of thing relevant in actual gameplay; I can pick dark, mean choices and be disrespectful to my superiors and it fits something I made up for that character. Sure, it's not boundless, but within the context of the story, there's a decent number of ideas you can make up for your character.

Gabe's words in this post (Penny Arcade) do a pretty good job of capturing it as well. The game doesn't offer an endless landscape of RP options, but then any game that isn't a pure sandbox will restrict an RPer with that mindset. In WoW you do a bunch of errands for people that might make no sense to your backstory, but you either adjust or ignore. RPers in Champions Online have to basically ignore every quest if they want to RP a villain or anything besides a goody two-shoes. But TOR at least supports it somewhat in the gameplay, even if it's just in terms of defining the tone and scruples of your character. And that support actually encourages people (like me, or Scott & Kara in Gabe's anecdote) to RP a little. I think that's a good thing.

Agente L:

Frankster:

Agente L:
complete focus in Republic story with complete disregard for empire story (all main characters in Empire dies, no main characters in republic dies)

Alas we Imperials will always get screwed unless it's an alternate universe setup :( Least they didn't portray the imperials as all moustache twirling villains and the republics as white knights of goodness. [/spoiler]

Yeah, but they could let SWTOR end in a draw, and event taking place AFTER it, in EU lore, that ends with empire getting destroyed and republic being victorious. But making it happen IN SWTOR? It's ridiculous.

Oh, and thanks for reminding me.

SW:TOR 2 was not Retconned out of existence. There aren't as many references to SW:TOR 2 as there are to the original, but they are there. Voice over files in the current game that have yet to be implemented also include a companion character who originates from some of KoTOR 2's cut content.

See, reviews like this are why I wish that more than just RPGs were so heavily story-based. RPGs are NOT about stories. RPGs have always been about numbers, purely numbers. The only reason video-game-based RPGs tend to be so story-focused is to give the player a reason to care about the numbers.

Also, given all the niggling little annoyances my friends have listed on the game (haven't played it, myself), I can't help but think there's a little fanboyism in this review's over-all opinion of "It's basically perfect, except for the space combat".

I actually enjoy the space battles... :/

its like starfox 64 with a star wars skin.

rsvp42:
RPers in Champions Online have to basically ignore every quest if they want to RP a villain or anything besides a goody two-shoes.

Honestly, that's more of a tone issue with CO's writing, though. It's true, there is no villain faction, so no RPing an active villain. The rest is soaked in the silver age. So the absolute insanity in the quest threads creates a kind of drug fueled bender of heroes who are both paragons of humanity and utter psychopaths. Superheros who will gleefully gun down mind controlled prison guards, while being unwilling to talk to a man about the dangers of his butterfly collection.

Grey Day for Elcia:

Starke:
Though, I think, for example, doing the same with Terraria would be a mistake, as it takes the game a good couple hours to get going.

Now, I know you said you find Bioware's writing since Empire to be rather lacking and clique, but I want to pass this quote back to you; the Old Republic stories take a little while to get going. You admit you didn't like what you saw and had spent some twenty hours with the game, and that's valid. You saw some of the story and what you saw, you didn't like. Can't get much more fair than that. However, you also admit you never saw any of the stories to their conclusion and there in lies my issue. See, all of the characters' stories are muti-level; each 'chapter' takes place over several planets and they are all different. I see it as kind of like reading the first chapter of a book and deciding the book is bad. You are by all means perfectly within reason to say that what you read was cliche and tripe, but I don't think you can make an accurate summary of the entire story. You can comment on the writing style used, but the story as a whole--the actual plot--is out of your reach.

What isn't out of reach, however, is the ability to recognize familiar patterns in Bioware's writing. For good or ill, Bioware's writing has always had a certain... let's say, "consistent" pattern. With the possible exception of MDK2.

The issue isn't that the writing in TOR is cliche. The issue is it is Bioware writing. The exact same thing I've seen in one form or another for over a decade now. So saying, I can't accurately assess the entire story arc from the beginning should be a valid criticism, but in this case it flat out isn't.

Grey Day for Elcia:

I'm sorry, I'm a bit confused here, was that a plot from TOR, a plot from the original KOTOR, the plot of Jade Empire, or the plot of ME1? No, wait, I remember, it's that plot from DAO with Morrigan. Or was it Merril in DA2? Either way.

See, here's the problem, Bioware did that game already. They did that story. In fact, while I'm being flippant, they've done variations of it for ages. So, while saying that I didn't know that was coming is great, the fact is that is another remix out of the Bioware cliche factory, and exactly the kind of thing I was criticizing the game for, in spite of having (theoretically) not played the game enough to know it was coming.

Grey Day for Elcia:
And no other MMO has anything on that. You can't compare class quests in other MMOs that *all* amount to receiving new spells or skills, to the long, sprawling, detailed and twist riddled arcs of all eight different classes. And, as I said earlier, no one else will have the same experience as you. Sure, they can play the same class and choose the same options, but your character is *yours* and they exist in *your* story.

The issue is, and this is critical. Stories, ongoing, overarching, stories are not new to MMOs. Name an MMO released in the last few years, nearly any MMO and there is a story to the game. Age of Conan, Star Trek Online, Hellgate London... all of these have stories they're trying to tell. All of them have multiple stories they're trying to tell. Age of Conan eve uses the same cutscene/dialog choice options that The Old Republic does.

The issue is, all of the games I just mentioned, and every other MMO I've ever played at least had the sense to understand some players aren't here to be held hostage by the story. They just want to get in, kill people, and take their shit. What TOR does do is assume that if you're playing it, you're there for the story, and only for the story, and holds you hostage to that story.

Most MMO writing does understand that the player might not be there for that, and so it aims for a kind of efficiency. It lets you know everything you need to know about a quest to roleplay with it, or just execute it in one or two shots of text. In TOR, instead, we have players whining about their family, or about how they're more than a match for you, or whatever, without any point. It often doesn't even build the story, it's just there to waste time.

Grey Day for Elcia:
Also, your comment about playing a character Bioware made for you seems odd to me. All my characters are, well, mine. I played them with a specific personality in mind (greedy, corrupt, kind, shallow, lawful, etc.) and went about deciding what quests to accept and how to act accordingly. That's pretty much how every RPG works; they're limited by how much programming the makers can do.

This is actually a bit of a shell game on Bioware's part. Remember how when DA2 was released some fans threw a fit that they were being forced into playing a specific character? The thing is, in DAO you're given basically one of six characters. The different origin stories. And, no matter what you do from that point on, you've basically set your character's history. You can change how the character responds, but you can't change who that character is.

With DA2, it was pretty painfully obvious for people, you were playing Hawke, and there wasn't an alternate character at all.

For what it's worth, Mass Effect does the same thing, but it hides it a bit better behind the service history and background. But no matter what you're doing, you're always playing Shepard. You may be playing him as a paragon or a renegade, but it's still Bioware's Commander Shepard, a fact that gets painfully obvious in ME2.

Now, in TOR, you have 8 characters. If you're playing a smuggler, and your friend is playing a smuggler, you're playing the exact same character, you may be playing them in different ways, you're going for nobility while they're going absolutely mercenary, but at the end of the day you're both playing the same character. And at best we're talking about different interpretations on the same character. Not different characters.

In contrast, if you take most MMOs, part of where their story, arguably, suffers is because they do leave you completely free to define whatever kind of character you want within your class. For Champions it's a build your own superhero. If you're wanting to actually make a character, just putting together a costume can easily form the nexus for a truly distinct character with their own unique back story and outlook. Now, obviously the game can't know what that history is, but you can build off that. Galaxies (I'm told) was the same way. The game really opened up and let you design and develop your own character who could be anyone in the galaxy. If you rolled up a Bounty Hunter, and your friend rolled up a Bounty Hunter you weren't both trying to get into the exact same slot in the exact same competition.

Grey Day for Elcia:
I just don't understand the criticism of 'you promised story and there isn't one'. You can't possibly expect every single player to play a story that changes the world around you for everyone else, and no other MMO has had such an involved story.

WoW actually does. Due to phasing you can actually alter the world as you progress through quests.

Grey Day for Elcia:
Sure, in another MMO you can play an assassin and, in your mind, be something of a Robin Hood, stealing from the rich, giving to the poor and only killing when you absolutely must. But that's not reflected in your story. In fact, you don't have a story. To the game, you are just another player accepting quests. In TOR, the world's characters *know* if you kill wantingly, they know if you are greedy or corrupt, your companions *will* comment on your behavior depending on their own personal ethics.

What it won't do is change your arc. This is another one of TOR's real failings. The moral choices you make, don't actually influence the story as a whole. The game can give you the illusion it knows, but it needs to segregate that off away from other players, where they cannot see the consequences.

Grey Day for Elcia:
This game, in my eyes, is a revolution, just not the kind people are willing to see. World of Warcraft copied countless numbers of mechanics from the MMO's before it, including Ultima Online and Everquest. But now that WoW is popular, every time an MMO uses these universal tools, they are called a clone, they get branded derivative and are brushed aside. I suppose first-person-shooters better stop using guns -- they all copied that. Maybe racing games better stop using a countdown before the race starts -- in every racing game there is. Look, I get that some aspects of TOR are akin to those in WoW (which in turn are akin to those in Everquest and the like), but that's how video games work; you take things that people like and you try to make them better. A world where every video game needs to change the entire fabric of the genre it's made in is absurd.

Honestly, the "it's been done before, therefore a ripoff" argument is, and always has been bullshit. The easiest proof of this is Apocalypse Now. Yes, it is Heart of Darkness, that's the point.

The issue here, the WoW clone accusation isn't that TOR copies elements from MMOs as a whole. The issue is it snarfed up it's art style, and it's style to a degree that goes way beyond "it's in the same genre".

If we're going to go with the FPS analogy you dragged up earlier, it's not the use of guns. Fire up Borderlands, and then fire up any COD game, and try to tell me Borderlands is ripping off COD with a straight face. Now, go fire up MW3 and BF3, and tell me with a straight face that they aren't hideously derivative of one another.

This is where we're at with TOR. It takes elements that every MMO uses, but it also takes very heavily from WoW with some reskinning. And, honestly, that's not even really a criticism, coming from me. I could give a rat's ass if TOR is original. The only thing about "copying WoW", that I care about is that MMOs have tried over and over to copy WoW in order to capitalize on it's massive popularity. What we've seen, again and again is that this does not work. The MMOs that try to go toe to toe with WoW end up on life support.

Grey Day for Elcia:
There's story here. There's character here. There's something that's never been done before here. People just need to understand that this *is* an MMO. This isn't a new genre or a single player RPG. Come to it knowing this and maybe the inclusion of a story you personally change, characters who react based on how you've played and the ability to have relationships that can become intimate will sink in. This is an MMO. The most unique MMO there's been in a long while.

The issue is, to a large extent, TOR isn't sure what it is. It's a single player RPG pretending to be an MMO, or an MMO with a single player RPG bolted into it, either way it's an awkward situation.

Honestly, it's an MMO with a standard issue Bioware story bolted onto it. Anyone who things this is some kind of revolution is sadly mistaken. Now, a lot of the players this will appeal to are not MMO veterans, so the BS Bioware's been spewing about how this is the first MMO with an involved story is flat out not true.

Starke:
@Starke

Guess we will just have to disagree. Our opinions won't budge, lol.

You forgot to mention the buggy end game, lack of some very basic MMO features, a broken crafting system and frankly amateurish PvP system. And in many respects this is still a grindy WoW clone.

I do however agree that the story quests and planet main quests are great. Worth it if you basically think of this as KoToR 3, but stretched out into an MMO because they wanted to make even more money.

Starke:
snip

I'm sorry, but this is just wrong. You cannot honestly say that WoW catered to any kind of roleplaying. The game has no consequences of choice, no true options on character morality, the only way you could make a character work is bascily to ignore the entire GAME and just use the world (and even then, a lot of things needs to be ignored for it to work, including most of the other players).

SWTOR gives you that options aswell, but in addtiotion feeds you excellent story hooks through your class campagin. Some of it must be ignored, but in acctuality much less than in any other MMORPG to date. The whole atmossphere just gives itself to roleplaying, instead of treating it as a annoying tack on that comes between you and the ability to get shiny pixlated EPIX.

Starke:

rsvp42:
RPers in Champions Online have to basically ignore every quest if they want to RP a villain or anything besides a goody two-shoes.

Honestly, that's more of a tone issue with CO's writing, though. It's true, there is no villain faction, so no RPing an active villain. The rest is soaked in the silver age. So the absolute insanity in the quest threads creates a kind of drug fueled bender of heroes who are both paragons of humanity and utter psychopaths. Superheros who will gleefully gun down mind controlled prison guards, while being unwilling to talk to a man about the dangers of his butterfly collection.

Right, but I trust you got my point: RPers must always contend with the game's story when it conflicts with their character concept. TOR's conflicts with such RP are no more egregious than any other MMO's, they're just better presented and more central to the storytelling, as well as more supportive of roleplay thinking even in non-RPers.

The review is perhaps a little overly positive without focusing on any of the negatives that do put some off, but I really think the MMO genre is suffering from a very hostile market currently.

Reading these posts I think 'Have you ever actually enjoyed an MMO, or do you complain this bitterly about everything you try?' - mostly because the minutiae people end up arguing over are so tiny & irrelevant to the meat of the game that either the games are all identical and you hate them all, or the games are all identical but people love to rage about tiny details.

TOR's longevity is not proven as it stands. There's plenty Bioware have to prove yet before that is shown one way or the other.

As for grouping - I find it's usually the utterly anti-social people who say 'it's a solo game, there's no incentive for grouping' because firstly, there are incentives and needs to group in TOR, and secondly, it's never been a requirement of any game to force people to group up. If you can manage to hold a conversation for thirty seconds, you can find a group and guild without too much trouble. Oddly enough, the Internet is busily showing us how many obnoxious people there are out there. People managed to group in text-based MUDs a decade ago without the game forcing it down their throats.

The rest of the arguments all center around what is subjective opinion over the precise mechanisms around why you go out and kill ten boars - because every MMO ever has done that. Even EVE for crying out loud does that. The basic MMO mechanics haven't changed yet. Even the all-hailed GW2 will be the same mechanics. You log on, you go find something, and you go press skills at it until it dies. The rest of the game is how well it sells that timesink and how much fun you have doing it. That ultimately is subjective, and the idea that one person should tell another 'Oh I wish people would stop saying X is great' is just laughable. Free will in action.

For me, the story in TOR allows me to play the role and mould that provided character; it's a dual effort as it were, I can only mould within the constraints allowed, but there is plenty of room for motivations & thought processes. In WoW, to pick a popular MMO at random, I never had any incentive at all to play the role. It was just another boring grind. TOR had me stop and ask 'How do I answer this question? What do I do next? What is appropriate for my character right now?'. I emotively reacted. Never had that in an MMO before, and I've played plenty. To each their own.

Steve Butts:
For me, the essence of true roleplaying is being given a choice within the context of a story and then seeing the results of that choice play out in front of you. TOR does that very well, at least within the confines of the MMO genre.

Eh, MMO genre? Come on, Steve ...

Reading your review again, it's a review of KotOR 3. You have not even talked about massive or multi-player details much except in passing.

Honestly, we all know that fully voiced personal story is impossible to expand upon, expansions will be slow and expensive to produce and endgame gameplay is reportedly very slim for a million people or so to keep paying rent in order to buy more voice acted single player bits.

Your review is much less distorted than most reviews out there, but still it fails to actually review massive or multi player bits.

4.5/5 is only valid for solo play first time, otherwise it will be impossible to not write about many downsides brought upon by EA/BioWare choices. I for one severely dislike them using high resolution textures for adds, but they cannot be used in game. Nearly as bad as DX10 in AoC, that was on box but not in game until year after release.

rsvp42:

Starke:

rsvp42:
RPers in Champions Online have to basically ignore every quest if they want to RP a villain or anything besides a goody two-shoes.

Honestly, that's more of a tone issue with CO's writing, though. It's true, there is no villain faction, so no RPing an active villain. The rest is soaked in the silver age. So the absolute insanity in the quest threads creates a kind of drug fueled bender of heroes who are both paragons of humanity and utter psychopaths. Superheros who will gleefully gun down mind controlled prison guards, while being unwilling to talk to a man about the dangers of his butterfly collection.

Right, but I trust you got my point: RPers must always contend with the game's story when it conflicts with their character concept. TOR's conflicts with such RP are no more egregious than any other MMO's, they're just better presented and more central to the storytelling, as well as more supportive of roleplay thinking even in non-RPers.

TOR's conflicts are much more egregious than other MMOs because of the way it tries to force feed you the plot. You want to play a couple Jedi knights working together to unravel a mystery? Sorry, you cannot do that. You can each instance into your own separate class quest points, or you can do them twice every time you're together. You want to roleplay a smuggler? Well, unfortunately you're going to need to follow the exact same "get your ship back" plot as everyone else. You want to roleplay as a bounty hunter? Well, you can't. You're going to have to go "prove yourself" in that hunt every damn time. The thing is, you can't roleplay a character of your choice in TOR. You can roleplay one of the characters Bioware has preconstructed for you on the preconstructed path they set for you. And, unlike most MMOs, you don't even get to skip parts if they're out of character, or if you don't want to deal with it because the entire game's progression is locked into that. You think your Bounty Hunter would just go out there into the galaxy and make a name for themselves? Well tough shit, because you can't. You need to compete against the Mandalorians in order to "prover yourself."

Where Champions says "here, you're a superhero", TOR says "here, you can play this choose your own adventure book we made for you."

Skyweir:

Starke:
snip

I'm sorry, but this is just wrong.

Don't be, punctuation is difficult for many, what you should have typed is "I'm sorry. This is just wrong:"

Skyweir:
You cannot honestly say that WoW catered to any kind of roleplaying.

You've never seen roleplaying on MMOs before? I mean, they're out there. Some of them are fucking disturbing, but they're out there.

Skyweir:
The game has no consequences of choice, no true options on character morality,

Much like The Old Republic.

So, here's the thing, and this is kinda critical, The Old Republic doesn't have a morality system, not really. It has the standard issue Bioware "morality", that is to say, Lawful Stupid, and Chaotic Stupid. That isn't a morality system, it's not. Even Fallout 3 did a better job, and that had a fucking terrible morality system.

Here's the other thing that's kinda critical. All of that consequence shit? Anything you do? It cannot, in any way shape or form affect the game world around you. You want to talk to someone in a public place you might kill? Well, you can't. So you get shuffled off to a contact, who brings him over (from the netherworld) when you talk to him, you converse, kill him in conversation (if you go that route), and wander off, the contact is still there, and all anyone else saw was you talking to someone and doing nothing.

The biggest illusion with TOR, and it's to an extent a somewhat well crafted one is that your actions can have consequences. They really can't, and don't, but it does look like they do.

Skyweir:
the only way you could make a character work is bascily to ignore the entire GAME and just use the world (and even then, a lot of things needs to be ignored for it to work, including most of the other players).

Well, that's overstating it a bit. The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of players out there, who do roleplay in MMOs, as characters they've created. And, yeah, not every concept will work in the world, but that doesn't mean that there isn't room to roleplay. What's more, roleplaying in MMOs tends to feed back into the old model from P&P gaming. That is to say, groups of players roleplaying together. Quite frankly, this is something that The Old Republic shits all over the way it handles the class based zones.

Skyweir:
SWTOR gives you that options aswell, but in addtiotion feeds you excellent story hooks through your class campagin.

Honestly, if you think this is "excellent" writing from Bioware, you need to go back and take another look at the original KOTOR. If you think these are "excellent story hooks" in general. you really need to get out there and read something that isn't licensed fiction. You want to see good writing hooks in Star Wars? Dig up the Thrawn trilogy, and forget this mess.

Skyweir:
Some of it must be ignored, but in acctuality much less than in any other MMORPG to date.

That's because it's force fed to you. In most MMOs if you want to skip something, if it doesn't appeal, you can. You can shelve it and move on to something else. In TOR that is, flat out, impossible. You will play exactly the story Bioware wants you to experience with no room for deviation. If you want to do the sidequest material, great, if you dont', tough shit, you need to go get up to spec for the next area.

Skyweir:
The whole atmossphere just gives itself to roleplaying, instead of treating it as a annoying tack on that comes between you and the ability to get shiny pixlated EPIX.

Again, it only lends itself to roleplaying for the terminally unimaginative. Someone who literally can't see their way to roleplaying without a conversation dial in front of them is someone who should have our sympathy.

Roleplaying in MMOs is, almost always, about finding a group of likeminded people, or friends, or both, and having a good time playing your characters together. This is the kind of thing that keeps MMOs going. And, while I'd be lying if I said I knew this is what kept WOW afloat, this is what most MMOs really are all about. If I wanted to sit at home, alone, and roleplay in isolation, I've got a shitload of single player RPGs available to me. If I don't, if I want to sit at home, alone, and have a good time with friends, that's what MMOs tend to be for.

If I'm going to be spending time with my friends, I'm an imaginative guy, I'm not going to want to be confined to Bioware's train yard.

Skyweir:
I'm sorry, but this is just wrong. You cannot honestly say that WoW catered to any kind of roleplaying. The game has no consequences of choice, no true options on character morality, the only way you could make a character work is bascily to ignore the entire GAME and just use the world (and even then, a lot of things needs to be ignored for it to work, including most of the other players).

I haven't played SWTOR or WoW, but a game where roleplaying is possible does not need "consequence of choice" or "options on character morality;" a social environment where you play with other people works just as well, and people use that social environment to roleplay with other people. Because, strangely enough, some people do want to just use the game world merely as a backdrop for their roleplaying, and not base it off some developer's black-and-white ideas of morality (e.g., "Be a Saint," "Eat a baby," "[insert joke response here]").

Hell, you don't even need morality to actually roleplay in a game. The Sims is a good example. While it might be a "virtual dollhouse," you're still able to play with your sims and roleplay as them throughout their life. Sure, there is some sort of "consequence of choice" in the game, but it's pretty limited, and ultimately doesn't affect that much of the gameplay experience. But it's still a game where roleplaying is possible.

Grey Day for Elcia:

Starke:
@Starke

Guess we will just have to disagree. Our opinions won't budge, lol.

The issue is this, Bioware is like McDonnalds. And I don't mean that in a pejorative sense. You pay your money, you know exactly what you're going to get, and I do mean exactly. The one time I remember them delivering something that wasn't their normal flavor (DA2, not-epic with a heavy dose of sarcasm), the fans freaking rioted.

Some people like McDonnalds, some don't, but that Bioware stamp on the package is basically enough to know if the game's story for you or not.

I think their quality's been on a downward slide since KOTOR, slow, but gradually picking up pace, with an errant spike of quality in DA2. TOR has continued this downward trend.

To an extent, in both the story, and the gameplay, TOR puts enough on the table very early to let you know what the rest of the game will be. You felt compelled to defend it, but the Sith Inquisitor starts off as one of the stronger bits of writing here. What it isn't, is something new. My GF and I ran a pair of Sith all the way through Korriban together. And aside from the opening cutscene for the inquisitor, I saw it all. I'm not bashing it for being cliche in that it's fedex quests, I'm bashing it for having all the characters I've seen so many times before rewashed and reused, again.

The same for the Bounty Hunter, the Imperial Agent, the Smuggler, and both Jedi. The only class I didn't see anything for was the Trooper, and I find it very hard to believe that was really something unexpected, hidden away.

PingoBlack:
Your review is much less distorted than most reviews out there, but still it fails to actually review massive or multi player bits.

Something I've noticed, but haven't gone back and confirmed. TOR has been getting really solid reviews from sites that don't usually do MMOs. But websites that are primarily MMO driven have been trashing it... Now, that could be warped perception on my part.

It also occurs to me, the people defending it tend to be people who don't play MMOs, where this is either their first or the ones they previously tried didn't appeal to them. Which is where you put TOR in front of any WoW vet, and they'll identify it as a reskin, or in front of a non-WoW, MMO Vet, and they'll attribute it towards WoW with slightly less certainty. But the people who try to refute that have never seen these game mechanics before...

Anyway, it's a weird random observation. Sorry.

Starke:
TOR's conflicts are much more egregious than other MMOs because of the way it tries to force feed you the plot. You want to play a couple Jedi knights working together to unravel a mystery? Sorry, you cannot do that. You can each instance into your own separate class quest points, or you can do them twice every time you're together. You want to roleplay a smuggler? Well, unfortunately you're going to need to follow the exact same "get your ship back" plot as everyone else. You want to roleplay as a bounty hunter? Well, you can't. You're going to have to go "prove yourself" in that hunt every damn time. The thing is, you can't roleplay a character of your choice in TOR. You can roleplay one of the characters Bioware has preconstructed for you on the preconstructed path they set for you. And, unlike most MMOs, you don't even get to skip parts if they're out of character, or if you don't want to deal with it because the entire game's progression is locked into that. You think your Bounty Hunter would just go out there into the galaxy and make a name for themselves? Well tough shit, because you can't. You need to compete against the Mandalorians in order to "prover yourself."

Where Champions says "here, you're a superhero", TOR says "here, you can play this choose your own adventure book we made for you."

You didn't really read my first post. The story in TOR is just as easy to ignore as in any MMO. You can skip right past all the conversations, ignore what you're really saying and just do the objectives and collect your experience and move on. Yes, BioWare provides a story, but that's the default story. The story you create for your character can be whatever you want and BioWare's story can play as large or as little a part in it as you want. Why? Because when you're off RPing with other people, they're going to accept whatever story you've created for yourself. Any decent RPer probably has experience with that because every game has a story.

On the flip side, if you're not a big RPer, this story structure helps encourage it. It's why I linked to the Penny Arcade article about it. Anecdotal evidence counts for a lot with this issue. The "right answer" here is whatever works for people. Maybe you could never RP in SW:TOR. Fine. Others can though and it's not hard to look past the provided story and create your own for RP purposes.

Yeah, the same class thing can be a bother, but it's a small one. Haven't really heard any complaints in game. This is another one of those "problems" with the game that gets blown out of proportion by personal preference, as evidenced by it being a deal-breaker for you and trifling concern for me.

Starke:

Skyweir:

I'm sorry, but this is just wrong.

Don't be, punctuation is difficult for many, what you should have typed is "I'm sorry. This is just wrong:"

That was spectacularly pedantic of you. But if you wanted to go down that road, your version would be better off with a semicolon. That said, I don't think the original was wrong to begin with.

Starke:
@Starke

As I said, we each think we are right and nothing's going to change it--opinions tend to do that:P. Best to leave it there.

As far as I can see, the contention around 'roleplaying' in TOR comes from two completely different mindsets on role-playing: The Mass Effect crowd, and the D&D crowd.

The Mass Effect crowd thinks that roleplaying is the developer giving you distinct moral choices to make within the game, allowing you to pick from one of three dialogue choices, and you moulding your character to whatever extent the story allows. In essence, a narrative-heavy approach to RPing. For these guys, TOR is a dream come true.

The D&D crowd remembers the days when roleplaying was a social event, where you met up and RP'd with other like minded players. More than that, for these guys, RPing has always been a custom experience- no two characters are ever the same, because the player gets to decide on every detail of their gaming persona. Lastly, the RP experience is not defined by what dialogue you choose, but by how you interact in the game world with other people. For these guys, games like WOW are essentially the D&D experience set to pixels, and so provide a much greater roleplaying experience than TOR.

I've got to be honest- I'm going to side with the second group on this issue. Roleplaying has always been a funny, difficult thing to categorise, but when it comes to multiplayer roleplaying, there are things that really should be taken as textbook, things that D&D paved the way for thirty years ago.

If you're going to focus on a roleplaying game with online multiplayer, then you must allow for players to feel unique from one another. D&D allowed for this with it's pen and paper roleplaying, and every MMO since WOW has allowed for this too. By keeping character details vague, the player is allowed to project whatever history and backstory they want onto their character, which in my opinion is true roleplaying. These unique characters can then meet up in guilds, go raiding together, fight against each other, and generally interact in the world in a way that encourages creativity. The Old Republic, on the other hand... as a single-player RPG, the mechanics would work fine. But as a multiplayer RPG, it all falls flat.

Dungeons and Dragons never forced its players to choose set stories to go with classes. WOW never forced players to choose a set backstory with each class. Things like this breed uniformity, which is anathema to MMOs. But in TOR, every Smuggler has the same backstory, every Imperial Agent is following the same quests, every Jedi experiences the same story as each other. For a multiplayer RPG, where emphasis should be put on allowing for individuality, things like this simply ruin the effect. Games like WOW allow you to feel like you're part of both a community, and a genuine game world. TOR, on the other hand, operates on a strange system where all the character classes are different permutations of the same character, and everyone has the same companion characters running around with them. That doesn't sound like an RPG that has been tailor made to focus on multiplayer. To me, that sounds like a single-player games that has had a multiplayer mechanic unwieldingly bolted to it, and it robs the game of the very creativity inherent in MMOs in the first place.

Just my two cents...

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
The D&D crowd remembers the days when roleplaying was a social event, where you met up and RP'd with other like minded players. More than that, for these guys, RPing has always been a custom experience- no two characters are ever the same, because the player gets to decide on every detail of their gaming persona. Lastly, the RP experience is not defined by what dialogue you choose, but by how you interact in the game world with other people. For these guys, games like WOW are essentially the D&D experience set to pixels, and so provide a much greater roleplaying experience than TOR.

I don't understand this comment. Not an insult to you or your opinion, I just don't understand how one can feel WoW, which has no inbuilt ability for the player's character to interact with NPC's beyond "accept quest" and "x", or any way for your character to engage in quests beyond the exact way they are described, contains more RP potential. You group up on TOR, you hang out in cities, you create your character, decide how they behave, how they talk, their morality, their appearance, the way they complete quests, who you hang out with etc., etc.

I also don't understand how TOR is any less social. I've played the entire game with a friend. We bought it at the same time, created our characters (many of them :P) and always play in a party.

Easy example: I roleplayed my Sith Inquisitor as a Republic spy who infiltrated the Sith homeworld to learn their training techniques. My friend? They roleplayed a power obsessed madman, bent on causing as much suffering as possible. We had vastly different experiences; characters he killed, I saved; people I worked for, he never spoke to. I played WoW for three years (and loved it until just after WotLK was released) and not once was roleplaying built into the game. Not once. You're a druid? Alright, here's your quest. Do exactly what it says and come back. That's it. You can add all the roleplaying you want within that, but at the end of the day, you have to do exactly what it says. Guy gives you a quest in TOR? Hold him to ransom, do what he says, kill him, ignore him, do what he says but do it differently, pair up with a like-minded individual, form a large group, form a group and betray them just before you complete your mission--all ways more roleplaying is built into the TOR story.

You say WoW has more roleplaying potential, but TOR has everything WoW has *and* a story the player actually interacts with and influences. The way you worded your comment, it sounds like someone who's never played the game, if I'm honest. If you can name a feature WoW has that allows for more roleplaying than TOR, I would be very shocked. It sounds to me like personal preference.

Noble_Lance:
Does it fix the need to grind and the repeated, fetch quests and kill x number of monkeys for a reward.

Noble_Lance:
Does it fix the need to grind and the repeated, fetch quests and kill x number of monkeys for a reward.

No, that's pretty much the entire game, and you will do them all the same way, by beating people on the head with a stick.

There's no break in the tedium, no funny ability you get for that quest, no vehicle you use for purpose Y. All in all TOR feels very lowtech because you don't get to use the tech for anything.

Everything happens in cutscenes, virtually NO ingame effect happens ingame. If you blow something major up, bar a few exceptions, you get a cutscene showing it and once it ends the item you blew up, stands there right as rain.

Noble_Lance:
Does it fix the need to grind and the repeated, fetch quests and kill x number of monkeys for a reward.

Noble_Lance:
Does it fix the need to grind and the repeated, fetch quests and kill x number of monkeys for a reward.

No, that's pretty much the entire game, and you will do them all the same way, by beating people on the head with a stick.

There's no break in the tedium, no funny ability you get for that quest, no vehicle you use for purpose Y. All in all TOR feels very lowtech because you don't get to use the tech for anything.

Everything happens in cutscenes, virtually NO ingame effect happens ingame. If you blow something major up, bar a few exceptions, you get a cutscene showing it and once it ends the item you blew up, stands there right as rain.

rsvp42:
You didn't really read my first post.

I did, otherwise it would have been impossible to do a blow by blow breakdown of everything wrong with it.

rsvp42:
The story in TOR is just as easy to ignore as in any MMO. You can skip right past all the conversations, ignore what you're really saying and just do the objectives and collect your experience and move on.

And you've obviously never played the game. You can jump through the dialog, space bar or escape, I forget which, but you cannot skip the missions. You can't. I'm not saying that you can't ignore the dialog, it's got to be less painfully stupid if you do, but what you can't do is skip ahead. Again, you talk about the game encouraging you to roleplay, but it's not. It takes away any freedom to actually roleplay in order to force feed you through a single linear path.

rsvp42:
Yes, BioWare provides a story, but that's the default story. The story you create for your character can be whatever you want and BioWare's story can play as large or as little a part in it as you want. Why? Because when you're off RPing with other people, they're going to accept whatever story you've created for yourself. Any decent RPer probably has experience with that because every game has a story.

At which point you're being hideously disingenuous to the game itself.

rsvp42:
On the flip side, if you're not a big RPer, this story structure helps encourage it.

Again, this is "encouragement" at gunpoint. You can choose to skip the dialog, but you can't skip the story. You understand the distinction?

rsvp42:
It's why I linked to the Penny Arcade article about it. Anecdotal evidence counts for a lot with this issue.

Honestly, as evidence goes, that doesn't work that well, unless you're suggesting I go back and look at it again when it goes free to play.

rsvp42:
The "right answer" here is whatever works for people. Maybe you could never RP in SW:TOR. Fine. Others can though and it's not hard to look past the provided story and create your own for RP purposes.

Oddly I'm fine with people liking it. I'm not fine with people saying it's well written, or saying that it's revolutionary to the MMO genre. And if you're wondering why, that's because it's flat out not true.

rsvp42:
Yeah, the same class thing can be a bother, but it's a small one. Haven't really heard any complaints in game. This is another one of those "problems" with the game that gets blown out of proportion by personal preference, as evidenced by it being a deal-breaker for you and trifling concern for me.

This was a deal breaker for me. The thing is, and this really is an issue, as far as I can tell, TOR doesn't encourage group play at all. It's a bunch of people out there all playing their own solo game, and that would be fine if this wasn't asking for a subscription fee on top of that. This does effectively mask a couple issues, but, I really don't think it will help the survival of the game in the long run.

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